Queenstown cops nab nine drink-drivers this weekend

by Lauren Pattemore - Dec 19, 2022

Over the weekend, nine drivers were caught behind the wheel and over-the-limit by police as enforcement measures ramp up around Queenstown.

According to Senior Sergeant Glenn Wilkinson, on a standard weekend Queenstown police dish out around three drink driving offences. 

He says this weekend's jump in numbers is a reflection of a higher police presence ahead of the holiday season, rather than more people drinking and driving.

Senior Sergeant Glenn Wilkinson believes there's usually this many drink drivers out on the roads - they just aren't caught.

Usually, police locally respond to a crash or complaints of dangerous driving, but with higher staffing levels this last weekend, they had two checkpoints in operation and were conducting random vehicle stops.

When there's more staff targeting drink-driving there's more apprehensions, so it's likely these numbers are on the roads all the time, he says.

With police flying into Queenstown from across the country to help with the busy Christmas and New Year period, Senior Sergeant Wilkinson says Queenstowners can expect to see more targeted breath testing over the next two weeks. 

Police checkpoints will be also set up during the morning, not just at night as they were last weekend.

“It’s very easy for you to get up and drive to work and still be over the limit,” the senior sergeant says.

The highest recorded intoxication level this weekend was 1,053mcg, four times over the legal alcohol driving limit, from a 21-year-old male from Central Otago, but the weekend’s offenders were spread over a “wide cross-section of society” and could not be defined to a distinct demographic.

It was a mixture of males and females and a range of ages, picked up at spots “dotted all around Queenstown”, he says.

Queenstown police are urging people to plan ahead for how they’ll get home after an event or night out that involves alcohol, and to designate a sober driver before they start drinking.

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